Photo: Louis Lovallo
Santa Barbara County – Those who doubt the effects of street drugs on human reasoning ability need look no further than the events leading to the February 22nd arrest of 20-year-old Torrance resident Louis Lovallo.
It all began close to the midnight hour on Highway 166, just outside the community of New Cuyama in northern Santa Barbara County. It was almost 11:00 p.m. when deputies received a report of a wrong-way driver on the roadway and promptly responded to the scene.
Upon arrival, the deputies spotted a suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop which, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, quickly morphed into a high-speed vehicle pursuit when Lovallo “accelerated away and began to recklessly evade deputies.”
Hot on Lovallo’s trail, deputies soon observed his vehicle swerve “off the highway into a farm field,” where it quickly became disabled in spite of his best efforts to motor his way out of the deep dirt.
At that point, additional SBSD units were on the scene, as well as deputies from the Kern County Sheriff and officers attached to the CHP unit in Santa Maria. With all those guns and badges facing him, Lovallo then “fled from deputies on foot and attempted to steal a Santa Barbara Sheriff patrol unit,” damaging the black-and-white before taking off again and hiding a short distance away.
This not being the deputies’ first rodeo, a secure perimeter was quickly established and a K-9 unit quickly located Lovallo. At that point, he “violently resisted arrest and assaulted the police dog” before being subdued and taken into custody.
While all this was going on, because Lovallo had left his car running in the brush-filled field, it ignited surrounding vegetation and was itself soon consumed in flames.
With his car burnt to a crisp and his hands firmly cuffed behind his back, Lovallo was transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where he was booked on DUI, felony evading a police officer, resisting arrest with force, attempted carjacking, attempted vehicle theft, vandalism, trespassing, assaulting a police dog and driving without a license. All of that added up to a bail amount of $75,000.